Dublin prison warden sex abuse trial: How the jury came to its guilty verdict

A jury of 10 men and two women found Ray J. Garcia – the former warden of the all-women's Federal Correctional Institute at Dublin guilty of eight counts of sex abuse and lying to the FBI.

Garcia is the highest ranking U.S. Bureau of Prisons official to be convicted of such crimes, according to the Department of Justice.

The trial, held in U.S. District Court in Oakland, lasted seven days. The jury deliberated for about 14 hours over three days.

In an exclusive interview, Simeon Meyer of San Francisco – the jury foreman – shared his opinions on the case and broke down how he and his peers came to their decision on Thursday just before noon. 

Who was on the jury? 

At first, Meyer said he didn't even notice there was a preponderance of men on the jury. 

It wasn't until one of the two female jurors spoke up about the gender inequity that made him realize how "odd" it was. 

Looking back, Meyer said he wished there had been more women on the panel, as he was moved by their stories as mothers and daughters. 

Meyer is the controller for the Chalet Restaurant Group. He said some of the other jurors are chemists, accountants, corporate executives and tech employees. One juror is a newly documented citizen. 

Each brought a unique perspective to the case, Meyer said, and often used their careers as the basis to forming their opinions. 

For instance, a female corporate executive noticed how broken the federal prison system is from a business perspective. 

An elderly female juror brought her own personal stories and "touching examples of humanity," Meyer said. 

What did you think of Ray Garcia?

Meyer said he thought the former warden was "arrogant" and full of "hubris." He said none of the jury believed the inconsistencies in his stories and he could tell that this was a classic "abuse of power" case.

One comment that Garcia made stood out to Meyer and the rest of the jurors that seemed especially out of line. 

"I have plenty of pictures I can use for arousal of free women I can see any day of the week," Garcia said angrily under cross-examination. "I do not need a picture of an inmate to arouse me."

The reason the jury deliberated over three days, Meyer said, because at first, there were two male "holdouts." 

Everyone else thought Garcia was guilty at the start of deliberations. But the two men were only about "80 to 90%" there on the first day, Meyer said. 

Those two wanted to methodically go through the counts to make sure that Garcia actually digitally penetrated one of the victims, Melissa, in the bathroom – as opposed to some of the other counts, which alleged a more general, "abusive sexual contact." 

"Two people needed to be convinced on the sexual act charge vs. the sexual contact charge," Meyer said. "We needed to come together to really discuss it."

One of those jurors - a new citizen to the United States -- also wanted to weigh Garcia's long, 30-year career with the BOP as a factor in his decision. 

In the end, though, Meyer said these two jurors playing devil's advocates just made for a more thorough deliberation.

What did you think of the women who testified?

Meyer said the women were completely believable, and even though Garcia's defense painted them as convicted felons with reasons to lie, that thought never crossed the jury's mind. 

The jury believed that the women who testified had all been sexually assaulted and they were moved by the stories the women told of being retaliated against for speaking out. 

Meyer said Melissa, the first witness, was especially compelling as she told of how Garcia instructed her to get naked on all fours on a friend's bed and then insert a candy cane into her vagina. 

She then teared up telling the jury how her life inside prison has been hell since coming forward with her story. 

A young male juror and an Indian woman kept asking their peers: What motivation would Melissa and the others have to lie? 

How did you feel looking at so many explicit photos?

Attorneys told the jury that Garcia has "hundreds" of photos of his penis – at least one with semen coming out – on his prison-issued cell phone. 

There were also naked photos of Melissa on all fours in a cell room, and screenshots of a victim named Rachel during a naked video chat with Garcia that she didn't know were being taken. 

Meyer said that the jury was only shown two of the warden's penis photos and the naked pictures of Melissa and Rachel. 

"We definitely saw dick pics," he said. 

Only the jury was shown these pictures and no one in the gallery was allowed to see them to protect the women's dignity. Meyer said the jury was not shown the semen photo. 

While Meyer said seeing these pictures was important, he didn't like seeing them up for so long on the computer in his jury box. 

He said he got uncomfortable and had to put a notebook up to block the view at times. 

No one giggled over the photos in deliberations, Meyer said, adding that everyone acted seriously while discussing them. 

What did you think of the prosecution's star rebuttal witness? 

During trial, several women and the prison psychologist testified that Garcia often bragged he wouldn't be investigated because the head of the Special Investigative Services – Lt. Stephen Putnam – was his best friend of 23 years.

So when Putnam was called to testify as the prosecution's rebuttal witness, Meyer said he expected Putnam to vouch for Garcia.

That didn't happen.

"We thought him to be a buddy and have his back," Meyer said. "But he didn't." 

Putnam shot down all of Garcia's claims, including the fact that it's never OK to take a picture of a naked woman and it's not the job of the warden to develop confidential informants.

The jury took notice of Putnam's testimony, Meyer said. 

What did you think of the prosecutors?

Meyer said he liked Asst. U.S. Attorneys Mollie Priedeman and Andrew Paulson. 

"They were fantastic," he said. "They did a really good job." 

He said they were both methodical in showing how Garcia had a pattern of grooming women before sexually abusing them.

And he said he especially liked their closing arguments and how they pointed out how ridiculous Garcia's explanations were. 

What did you think of the defense?

Meyer said he thought defense attorney James Reilly "did a really poor job." 

He said he and the other jurors did not like how Reilly tried to paint the women as lying convicted felons and how he "treated them with impunity." 

Meyer said he felt Reilly also badgered the witnesses and had a general "lack of direction." 

He said he scribbled all sorts of comments to himself about Reilly's treatment of the women on the edges of the 65 pages of notes he took during trial.

What did you think of the judge?

Meyer said everyone liked Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers and how she ran her courtroom. 

"She was awesome," Meyer said. "I liked her demeanor and her fairness." 

How did you spend seven days with strangers since you couldn't talk about the case? 

Meyer said it was difficult to spend a week with people he didn't know and not be able to talk about the one thing that was bonding them together – the trial.

"We were pretty quiet," he said. "It was a little awkward." 

Once in a while, someone might ask about golf during the breaks, he said. 

Despite the jurors being strangers, though, Meyer said he was very proud of how they worked together and ended up coming to a unanimous decision, especially since there was such "heavy testimony" to consider. 

Lisa Fernandez is a reporter for KTVU. Email Lisa at lisa.fernandez@fox.com or call her at 510-874-0139. Or follow her on Twitter @ljfernandez